Column: BSU men's hockey team should win CHA tournament
The Bemidji State men's hockey team is hoping history repeats itself this weekend ... in more ways than one. The Beavers go in search of the College Hockey America playoff title this weekend in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Tournament action begins tonight...
The Bemidji State men's hockey team is hoping history repeats itself this weekend ... in more ways than one.
The Beavers go in search of the College Hockey America playoff title this weekend in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Tournament action begins tonight as Wayne State and Alabama-Huntsville take part in the play in game.
The winner will face top seeded BSU Saturday at 1 p.m. in one semifinal with tourney host and second seed Niagara facing Robert Morris in the second semifinal.
The winners will face each other at 2 p.m. Sunday for the title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Trying to pick a winner in this tournament over the years has been much akin to rolling the dice. The old cliché of "on any given night ..." may apply best to the CHA compared to any other conference in the country.
One has to look no further than last year to see firsthand evidence of this phenomenon. Huntsville struggled through a dismal regular season, finishing last in the CHA. The Chargers got on a roll in the playoffs, however, and claimed the conference tournament title -- scoring a shorthanded goal in overtime, no less, to claim the crown.
That got the Hack to thinking (a dangerous thing for him, by the way) and looking at the CHA history books. One statistic was immediately apparent - the only time the top seed in the CHA tourney won the title in the last five years was in 2004-05 when the Beavers got the job done.
The Beavers are the top team heading in the tournament this year...
The Hack has always been big on omens and signs when it comes to making sports predictions. Hmmm ... wonder what other type of similarities there are between the BSU teams of 2004-05 and today. Could some kind of a trend be discovered here?
Let's take a look:
The Beavers of 2004-05 are seen as the premier team of the Bemidji State DI era. That team cruised through the CHA regular season, winning the title with a 16-4-0 record. However, this team struggled against the WCHA in non-conference games that year, ending 0-5-1 (the tie a 3-3 game at North Dakota).
The current Beavers cruised through the CHA regular season, winning the title with a 13-4-3 record. However, the WCHA non-conference games did not go well, as the Beavers ended 1-9-0.
Pretty darn similar comparison, eh? But things can be taken a step further.
Dwyer Arena in Niagara has not been kind to the Beavers over the years. In the two years prior to the Beavers big 2004-05 season, BSU was 1-2-1 at Dwyer. In 2004-05, however, the Beavers broke the jinx and were undefeated at 2-0-0.
In the two year prior to this season, the Beavers were 0-3-1 at Dwyer. This year, though, the Beavers were undefeated at Dwyer, going 1-0-1.
Similarities? Omens? We may be on to something here. Let's go even further.
The make up of the 2004-05 BSU team was anchored by solid leadership and skills from the group of five seniors - Andrew Murray and Brendan Cook among them. In addition there were strong contributions from juniors (Jean Guy Gervais, Andrew Martens) and additional underclassmen (Luke Erickson, Rob Sirianni, Ryan Miller) to name a few notables.
The make up of the 2007-08 team has been anchored by solid leadership and skills from a group of six seniors - Matt Pope, Blaine Jarvis, among them. Strong contributions have come from juniors (Cody Bostock, Tyler Scofield, Travis Winter) and additional underclassmen (Matt Read, Chris Peluso, Graham McManamin) to name a few notables.
Wow ... this is beginning to get scary. Are the stars really starting to align?
Here's another. The main constant of both teams? Strong goaltending from Matt Climie. The freshman Climie got very hot at the right time in 2004-05, posting 6-0 and 3-0 shutouts in the CHA tournament, then playing a spectacular game in a 4-3 overtime loss to Denver in the NCAA Tournament.
And this year? Time will tell. But, if the Hack was a betting man he knows where his dollars would be placed on how Climie will play this weekend.
The main difference between the 2004-05 season and this year is the tournament location. Back then the tournament was a virtual home stand for the Beavers, being played in Grand Rapids. This year Niagara has the ultimate home field advantage, playing the tournament on its home ice.
Hey, so there's one difference ... big deal.
Yup, there's just too many similarities to be ignored.
The hunch here is the Beavers win the CHA tourney, earn the autobid and then make some noise in the NCAA.
Just too many omens to go any other way.